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Best wireless speakers for dads 2018

With loads of wireless speakers to choose from, here are our top gift picks this Father's Day.

David Carnoy
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
David Carnoy
JBL Link 300
1 of 39 Sarah Tew/CNET

JBL Link 300

With loads of wireless speakers to choose from, here are our top gift picks for Father's Day.

First up, JBL's Link 300 is one of the best sounding voice-enabled Wi-Fi speakers for the money -- and can be controlled with your voice using Google Assistant.

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Bose SoundLink Revolve

Bose's latest SoundLink Bluetooth speakers, the Revolve and Revolve Plus, have a new cylindrical design and 360-degree sound output. 

3 of 39 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose SoundLink Revolve Plus

Bose's larger Revolve Plus will give Dad sound that's a little bigger with more bass -- and it has an integrated handle. It's pricey but a great compact speaker.

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Sonos One

The Sonos One is the first Sonos speaker to have Amazon's Alexa voice assistant built into it, which makes it act just like Amazon Echo speaker -- only it sounds better. This is a Wi-Fi speaker, and sometime in 2018 it will also add Google Assistant and Apple AirPlay 2 support through a software upgrade.

As with earlier Sonos speakers, Dad can add other Sonos speakers to create a multiroom audio system -- or a stereo pair.

5 of 39 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Amazon Echo Show

Amazon's Echo Show offers improved sound over the original Echo and has a built-in screen that will let Dad watch video and make video calls to his doting family. 

Bose SoundLink Micro
6 of 39 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose Soundlink Micro

While Bose's SoundLink Micro is a tad pricey, you'll be hard pressed to find a speaker this small that provides as much bass and volume as it does.

7 of 39 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Apple HomePod

Apple's HomePod is a little overpriced too, but it's arguably the best sounding smart speaker for its size and will improve with time as more features are added.

JBL Link 20
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JBL Link 20

Like the Link 300, JBL's portable Link 20 may not have Alexa, but Dad can control it with his voice using Google Assistant.

9 of 39 Sarah Tew/CNET

JBL Flip 4

JBL's Flip 4 is fully waterproof and a little bigger than than the JBL 3. That extra size -- and a new set of drivers inside -- makes a significant difference in sound quality. The speaker also has better battery life than its predecessor.

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UE Blast

UE's Alexa-enabled smart speaker doesn't have as much bass as its bigger sibling, the Megablast, but it's more compact and costs less.

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UE Wonderboom

This Ultimate Ears waterproof Bluetooth speaker is shorter and squatter than its popular UE Boom 2 speaker. Given its price, the UE Wonderboom is near the top of the class for sound quality.

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UE Megablast

UE's fully waterproof Megablast is arguably the best-sounding portable Alexa-enabled smart speaker. Perfect for parties by the pool.

13 of 39 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony SRS-XB10

If you think Dad will appreciate a tiny speaker that can output a reasonable amount of sound, Sony's SRS-XB10 fits the bill nicely.

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UE Boom 2

The UE Boom 2 is a compact, durable wireless Bluetooth speaker that plays louder than the original Boom and sounds a little better. It's stain-resistant, shock-resistant and now fully waterproof. Battery life is a strong 15 hours, and it can be paired with a second UE speaker for stereo sound.

15 of 39 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose SoundLink Color II

If Dad's priority is sound quality, you're better off with the more expensive Revolve. But if he values portability and you don't want to spend the extra money, the SoundLink Color II, which features improved sound over the original, is a solid choice. 

While not everybody will love its design, most dads should be impressed with the sound it puts out, particularly in smaller rooms.

16 of 39 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose SoundTouch 10

Bose's SoundTouch 10 is the smallest and least expensive Wi-Fi speaker in the company's line of DIY wireless multiroom audio systems, all of which added Bluetooth to their features list in late 2015.

The Bose SoundTouch 10 is a compact Wi-Fi speaker that plays much bigger than its size would indicate, and it offers convenient features such as Bluetooth and shortcut buttons.

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Tribit XSound Go

If you're looking for an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker, the Tribit XSound Go is a fantastic value.

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Amazon Echo (2nd generation)

The new, slightly shorter, second-generation model is way less expensive than the $180 original. And a three-pack of the new version comes with a $50 discount.

The updated Echo features improved audio quality with a dedicated woofer and tweeter and Dolby sound. It comes in a variety of interchangeable fabrics and finishes such as cloth, wood and more.

19 of 39 Sarah Tew/CNET

B&O Play Beoplay A1

All credit to B&O Play for creating a Bluetooth speaker that doesn't look like anything out there already. The new dome-shaped Beoplay A1 is not only the smallest wireless speaker from the Danish company, but also its most affordable.

With a sleek look courtesy of well-known Danish furniture designer Cecilie Manz, the aluminum-clad A1 delivers relatively high-quality sound for its compact size, has excellent battery life and works well as a speakerphone.

20 of 39 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sonos Play:5 (2015)

The second-generation Sonos Play:5 is a sleek, well-designed Wi-Fi speaker that delivers rich sound for its size, as well as strong bass. It offers the full Sonos wireless experience, controllable from iPhone, iPad and Android apps. 

The speaker is compatible with nearly every key music service, including Pandora, Spotify, Tidal, Amazon and Apple Music. It comes in two colors -- white and black -- and can be placed either horizontally or vertically.

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Google Home Max

The Google Home Max is currently the largest Google Home speaker -- and the best sounding, too.

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JBL Pulse 3

With the third generation of its Pulse speaker, JBL has once again improved the integrated LED light show, making this flashy Bluetooth speaker a standout product in a crowded market. The Pulse 3 delivers strong sound for its size and Dad can program its light show via a free app for iOS and Android. 

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Amazon Echo Plus

The Echo Plus looks and acts like the original Echo -- but it's had a major smart-home brain implant and a boost in sound quality. In addition to the Alexa functionality you get in every Echo device, the Echo Plus features an integrated smart-home hub that serves as the conduit between the cloud and all of your smart locks and lights; it comes bundled with a free Philips smart lightbulb.

Before, you needed a separate hub from SmartThingsWink, or another third party to control the smart-home devices made by companies such as Philips HueGE and Kwikset. Now, the Echo Plus, with its built-in ZigBee antenna, will sense, set up and connect these devices automatically.

24 of 39 Sarah Tew/CNET

JBL Clip 2

JBL's Clip speakers have long been among our favorite micro Bluetooth speakers, and the Clip 2, which comes in five color options, is also a winner.

It's about the size of a hockey puck, with a built-in rechargeable battery, which should give Dad about 8 hours of tunes. It offers decent sound for its size and it's fully waterproof.

It also has an integrated line-in cable that stows away in the bottom of the device, as well as speakerphone capabilities.

The new Clip 3 is due to ship in 2018, so hopefully the Clip 2 will dip in price a little.

Google Home Mini
25 of 39 James Martin/CNET

Google Home Mini

If you're looking for the Google version of Amazon's Echo Dot, the Google Home Mini is just that. Like the Dot, it may not sound great, but it's got lots of smarts and Google Assistant. 

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Amazon Echo Spot

The Echo Spot is Amazon's mashup of the deluxe Show and the entry-level Dot. It combines the Dot's hockey-puck aesthetic and low-power output to the Show's video capabilities, while meeting at about the halfway point on price. Its front-facing camera can be used to make video calls, which can be initiated through the touchscreen or Alexa, and capture intermittent photos or a live feed of video.

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UE Megaboom Bluetooth speaker

When Dad's away from home, he can untether his speaker system with the UE Megaboom Bluetooth speaker. It's a tiny waterproof unit that gets IPX7 certification for extra toughness from the elements.

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Google Home

The original Google Home smart speaker was Google's answer to the Amazon Echo, with its own voice-activated Google Assistant. Like the Echo, it's improved over time.

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UE Roll 2

The waterproof UE Roll 2 plays 15 percent louder than the original Roll, has a longer wireless range of up to 30 meters (about 100 feet), and it ships with a UE Floatie, so you can take it into the pool with you right out of the box. Certain colors of this speaker often go on sale, particularly now that the newer UE Wonderboom has been released.

30 of 39 B&O Play

B&O Play by Bang & Olufsen Beoplay P2

Bang & Olufsen's Beoplay P2 may not be cheap but it is the least expensive model in the company's Bluetooth speaker lineup -- it's also the smallest and lightest. Aside from its swanky design (it really is a great-looking micro speaker) it delivers a good amount of bass and volume for its compact size.

31 of 39 Sarah Tew/CNET

V-Moda Remix

V-Moda's Remix is a compact, premium Bluetooth speaker that also has a built-in headphone amp. Billed as "the world's first 3D-printed custom speaker," all six sides of the Remix can be personalized with optional accessories.

Oontz Angle 3 Plus
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Oontz Angle 3 Plus

The Oontz Angle 3 Plus is pretty no-frills, but it is one of the best sounding inexpensive Bluetooth speakers out there.

33 of 39 Sarah Tew

Bose SoundLink Mini II

Available in two colors, carbon and pearl, the Bose SoundLink Mini II offers some nice upgrades over the original SoundLink Mini. The price on this speaker has come down a little as Bose has released the all-new SoundLink Revolve and Revolve Plus.

34 of 39 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Amazon Echo Dot

The Amazon Echo Dot won a CNET Editors' Choice Award. How could it not? It's just as smart as the Echo, but it costs half as much. And, unlike the Echo, you can use it with whatever speakers you want. That's terrific news both for audiophiles and for people who just want an inexpensive way to give Dad the gift of Alexa.

35 of 39 Chris Monroe/CNET

Amazon Tap

Now in battery-powered form within the portable Amazon Tap, Amazon's digital assistant Alexa is as good as ever. Dad can play music, command his smart home or add something to his to-do list -- all with his voice.

Anker SoundCore 2
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Anker SoundCore 2

We like the sound of the step up SoundCore Boost better, but the SoundCore 2 costs about half the price and delivers decent Bluetooth sound and battery life for its modest price. 

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JBL Charge 3

The JBL Charge 3 is a well-designed, fully waterproof portable Bluetooth speaker. It has good battery life and doubles as an external charger for your portable devices. It also has built-in speakerphone capabilities, and plays loudly with strong bass for its size and price class.

38 of 39 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose SoundTouch 30

Bose's SoundTouch 30 is a direct competitor to the Sonos Play:5 and features both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth streaming. It can be linked with Bose's other SoundTouch speakers to create a multiroom system.

39 of 39 B&O Play

B&O Play Beolit 17

If you want to give your dad a little something extra special as far as a Bluetooth speaker goes, there's B&O Play's Beolit 17, which offers bigger sound than a lot of these smaller Bluetooth speakers in the gift guide. The only downside is its price.

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